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Living Memory

Milocca’s Charlotte Gower Chapman

Sam Migliore, Margaret Dorazio-Migliore, and Vincenzo Ingrascì

Although there are exceptions, the history of sociocultural anthropology

has been traced through (1) a list of prominent individuals who have

made significant theoretical, methodological, and ethnographic contributions

to the discipline; (2) a critical discussion of the development of one

or more theoretical orientations, or schools of thought, linked directly

or indirectly with the ideas of certain key thinkers; and (3) the presentation

of anthropological biographies, autobiographies, and related life

documents (see, for example, Darnell 1990; Harris 1968; Kuper 1996;

Mead 1977; Silverman 2004; Stocking 1995). What this process has led

to is the creation and establishment of a line of disciplinary ancestors;

individuals who become well known within—and sometimes outside—

the discipline, and whose ideas are frequently discussed and cited in the

anthropological literature. In the process, however, these "canonical"

figures (to quote Stocking 2001:331) tend to overshadow many of their

contemporaries. Many of the "lesser known" scholars, as a result, are

relegated to the status of footnotes in the history of anthropology, or

forgotten altogether.

In 2000 Richard Handler published an edited volume titled Excluded

Ancestors, Inventible Traditions. The articles in this volume bring to light

the work and achievements of a number of these "lesser known" anthropologists

(and anthropological traditions). They also raise "questions

about the processes of inclusion and exclusion that, over time, do much

to constitute ‘the history of anthropology’" (Handler 2000a:8). Maria

Lepowsky’s (2000) article deals specifically with the work of Charlotte

Day Gower (who later became Charlotte Gower Chapman), and some

of the problems Gower experienced in her attempts to establish herself

in a career in anthropology.1 Our aim is to build on Lepowsky’s presentation

to focus on Gower Chapman’s work in south-central Sicily, and

to examine her place in both the discipline of anthropology and Sicilian

rural life and history. Although specific anthropologists may, for a variMigliore,

Dorazio-Migliore, and Ingrascì 111

ety of reasons, virtually disappear from "anthropological memory," they

can have a significantly different, albeit ambiguous, fate in the communities

where they conducted their research. This is the key theme we address

in this chapter.

The Making of an Anthropologist

Charlotte Day Gower was "born in Kankakee, Illinois, a small city about

60 miles south of Chicago," on May 5, 1902 (Lepowsky 2000:126). She

passed away as a result of a heart attack at the age of eighty, on September

21, 1982, in Washington DC ("Obituary—Charlotte Chapman" 1982;

Anonymous 1983:3). During this eighty-year period, her life and career

were marked by a number of changes and accomplishments.

Gower majored in psychology at Smith College, receiving her bachelor’s

degree in 1922 (Lepowsky 2000:126). Her intent, at the time, was

to pursue a medical career (King and Patterson 1991:105). While at

Smith College, however, she completed a course in anthropology with

Harris Hawthorne Wilder (Lepowsky 2000:127). The course stimulated

Gower’s interest in anthropology. In 1923, with Wilder’s support, she

published a paper dealing with the morphology of the apertura piriformis

(nasal aperture) in modern humans. Although written very early

in her anthropology career, the article has been cited in a number of recent

publications (e.g., Weinberg et al. 2005). Some scholars, as can be

expected, simply make use of the work as a historical document. A number

of scholars, in contrast, go beyond this to actually make use of certain

aspects of the nomenclature and coding protocols Gower developed

in the article (e.g., Franciscus 2003:712).

A year later, Gower enrolled in the MA in Anthropology program at

the University of Chicago (Anonymous 1983:3). At Chicago she was

exposed to the ideas of Fay-Cooper Cole, Edward Sapir and, through

them, to both the Boasian tradition in anthropology and some of the

innovative ideas being developed in the Chicago School of Sociology

(Murray 1986; Schusky and Eggan 1989; Lepowsky 2000). Cole was

one of Gower’s strongest supporters during her stay at the University of

Chicago, and for some time later.

Charlotte Gower was awarded a master’s degree in 1926 for her thesis

"The Origin and Spread of Antillean Culture" (Anonymous 1983:3).

The following year, with the aid of a subvention from the Central States

branch of the American Anthropological Association, she was able to

publish the thesis as Memoir 35 of the AAA (Isaac 2001). The manuscript

focused on both archaeological and ethnological material in examining

the role of the Caribbean in the diffusion of cultural traits between

112 Living Memory

North, Central, and South America. Although the focus on diffusion and

trait distribution would soon become outdated, the publication did have

limited success. A number of scholars, for example, have made reference

to the work over the years (e.g., Rouse 1947; Purdy 1988). More importantly,

Gower’s work served as the spark that ignited Cornelius Osgood’s

interest in Caribbean studies. In fact, according to Irving Rouse, the

Caribbean Anthropological program Osgood helped establish at Yale

University developed directly out of Gower’s thesis (Siegel 1996:682).

Immediately following the completion of her master’s degree, Gower

entered the PhD in Anthropology program at the University of Chicago.

For the dissertation, Gower conducted research among Sicilians in the

Chicago area "under the auspices of the Behavior Research Fund of

the Institute for Juvenile Research, Chicago, Illinois" (Gower 1928:2).

She focused on the role of religion and patron saints in Sicilian life. The

project, however, cannot be labeled a community study. Gower did not

study a specific immigrant group in a particular neighborhood of the

city. Instead, she worked with a relatively small number of individuals

residing in different neighborhoods of Chicago, and originating from

different communities and regions in Sicily (see Gower 1928:9495).

"Nor was [the] dissertation . . . a modernist ethnographic work based

on participant observation. It was a work of Sicilian memory culture"

(Lepowsky 2000:130). Gower (1928:2) focused on the "reconstruction

of a portion of Sicilian culture from the accounts of people already in

[the United States], and literary sources"—such as the work of Sicilian

folklorist Giuseppe Pitrè.

In 1928, the University of Chicago awarded two PhDs in anthropology—

one to Robert Redfield, for his study of peasant life in Tepoztlán,

Mexico (1928), the other to Charlotte Gower for her dissertation, "The

Supernatural Patron in Sicilian Life." Gower was "the first woman to

receive a Ph.D. in anthropology at Chicago" (Rowe 1978:653). She was

also one of the very few cultural anthropologists in the United States to

receive a PhD for work that addressed Mediterranean or Near Eastern

themes between 1911 and 1930 (see Bernstein 2002:554). Gower

seemed to be well on her way to becoming a prominent anthropologist.

Although a young scholar, she had managed to establish a good record

of achievement. In addition to acquiring the necessary educational credentials,

Gower, for example, had also (1) become a published author;

(2) participated in, and presented papers at, scholarly conferences; (3)

started to perform administrative duties for the Central States branch

of the AAA; and (4) received, along with Ruth Bunzel and Margaret

Mead, one of only three prestigious Social Science Research Council

Migliore, Dorazio-Migliore, and Ingrascì 113

Fellowships awarded to anthropologists in 192829 (see Anonymous

1928; Fox 1928, 1937; Gower 1923, 1927; Gray and Gower 1928;

Kidder 1926; Isaac 2001). "By the time her degree was awarded, in

October of 1928, Gower was indeed already in Sicily" conducting research

(Lepowsky 2000:130).

Fieldwork in Sicily

Sicily, due to its strategic location at the center of the Mediterranean

Sea, has attracted travelers and invaders for thousands of years. As a

result, Sicilian history has been characterized by successive waves of foreign

invasion, domination, and sometimes exploitation. With the arrival

of the Greeks in the eighth century BC much of the island became Hellenized

(Smith and Serrati 2001; De Angelis 2003). Since that time, Sicily

has come under the control or influence of various peoples, including

Carthaginians, Romans, Arabs, Normans, Spaniards, Austrians, and—

more recently—northern Italians (Smith and Serrati 2001; Mack Smith

1968a, 1968b). Sicily officially became an integral part of the newly

united Italian state in 1861.

The extended period of foreign domination and exploitation created

various social and economic problems for the region. This state of

affairs reached severe proportions during, and immediately after, the

Italian unification period (Mack Smith 1997; Riall 1998). The economic

policies of the new government favored the northern regions of Italy.

Unification did not improve conditions in the south. In response to these

adverse economic and social conditions, many Sicilians chose out-migration.

Initially people migrated to northern Italy and other European

nations. The pattern changed in the early 1900s, as Sicilians began to

travel to overseas destinations such as Argentina, Brazil, Canada, and

the United States: "By 1914 there were five to six million Italians living

abroad as compared with thirty-five million inside Italy" (Mack Smith

1997:214). The vast majority of these individuals migrated or emigrated

from southern Italy and Sicily. It is ironic that the island that attracted so

many foreign invaders was now sending its own people to foreign lands.

By the late 1920s, anthropologists had begun to modify their research

techniques to study "immigrant peoples." Fay-Cooper Cole (1930b:390)

described the process as follows:

So long as we drew our population largely from northern Europe

there was little difficulty in adjusting the newcomers to American

conditions, but with the influx from southern Europe the situation

changed. We were then forced to deal with people whose so114

Living Memory

cial, economic and mental backgrounds were very different from

our own, and our attempts to incorporate them into our national

life were far from successful. To remedy this situation Anthropology

is carrying on intensive investigations of these people in

their home-lands. . . . in order that we may be able to intelligently

direct their adaptation to American life and conditions.

As one of Charlotte Gower’s mentors, Cole was instrumental in her decision

to work with Sicilian immigrants in Chicago, and then travel to

Sicily for further research.

In the preface to Milocca: A Sicilian Village, Gower (by then Chapman)

states that her aim and rationale for research in Sicily was to

study the social organization and customs of a Sicilian village.

This was to be the second application of anthropological methods,

in imitation of Robert Redfield’s work in Mexico, to the

investigation of a semi-literate society. Sicily was chosen as the

area of study partly because it was hoped that a knowledge of

the background of the Sicilian immigrants to the United States

might prove useful in understanding their problems in and reactions

to their new environment. (Chapman 1971:vii)

In Sicily, Gower conducted eighteen months of ethnographic field research

in Milocca. She chose Milocca based on the recommendation

of one of her Sicilian informants and language instructors in Chicago

(Chapman 1971:vii). The individual, a man originally from Grotte (a

town located a short distance from Milocca), was familiar with the area

and was able to provide Gower with a letter of reference for her arrival

in the community.

Ethnographic Research in Milocca

In 1928 Mussolini’s Fascist government was well established on the Italian

mainland and was in the process of strengthening its position in Sicily.

Prefect Cesare Morì was in charge of affairs on the island. Charlotte

Gower met with Morì upon her arrival in the Sicilian regional capital

of Palermo, and obtained a letter of introduction to present to local officials

in Milocca (Chapman 1971:vii). She then made her way to Grotte

by train, and traveled the remaining distance to Milocca on the back of

a mule. At the time of Gower’s arrival, Milocca was a small village or,

more accurately, a set of small agricultural hamlets (or robbe) located in

a relatively isolated region in the interior of the island. According to one

community member,

Migliore, Dorazio-Migliore, and Ingrascì 115

La Gower made her way to a particular home in what is now

the Villaggio Vittorio Veneto section of town. She spoke excellent

Italian, and had some knowledge of the Sicilian. When

the family saw a woman knocking at their door, in the evening,

alone, and wearing trousers, they quickly sent her away.

It was Don Salvatore Maria Tona, the archpriest, who made

arrangements for her accommodation for the night. The next

day Gower was introduced to the Angilella family. (Vincenzo

Ingrascì, field notes)

Although initially apprehensive about staying in this isolated community,

Gower was quickly reassured by Don Salvatore (Totò) Angilella and

other local officials that her stay would be fruitful. In fact, Gower states

that on reading the letter from Prefect Morì "the Mayor (Podestà) summoned

the midwife and informed her that henceforth I would be lodged

in her family’s large front room on the town square, and that her mother

would provide my meals, and that was that" (Chapman 1971:vii).

Gower welcomed the opportunity to stay with the midwife and her

family, and her new links with Don Totò Angilella and his supporters.

She soon came to realize, however, that the letter from Prefect Morì

and her relationship with the Angilella family were to have both positive

and negative consequences for her research. Morì’s letter raised suspicions

about her real goal(s) in coming to Milocca. Based on discussions

with members of the community today, it seems that some people

at the time wondered if Gower was gathering information for the Fascist

government, while the majority of Milocchesi suspected that she was

an "American spy" (see also Patterson 1992:85). People, in fact, were

not convinced with any certainty that she was a scholar rather than a

spy until long after she had returned to the United States (see Messana

1985:7). In a Sicilian community where people are not always free with

information about themselves and their personal and business affairs,

these suspicions certainly added to the difficulties of generating data for

ethnographic study.

Gower’s situation was complicated further by the fact that Milocca

was divided politically into two competing factions, lead by the Angilella

and Cipolla families. She indicates that her affiliation with the Angilellas

"considerably limited my range of contacts among the leaders of the

community" (Chapman 1971:viii). Her apparent links to people in positions

of power may have secured a place for Gower in Milocca, but they

did not allow for free and open discussion with some members of the

community. Yet, from the point of view of Avvocato Carmelo Cipolla,

116 Living Memory

a prominent member of the Cipolla faction at the time (podestà from

1932 to 1934, and mayor from 1946 to 1948), it was Gower herself

that was "unwilling to cross the factional divide" to pursue her research

(Patterson 1992:95).

As a female anthropologist in a society with sharp divisions between

the female and the male domains, Gower also faced limits in what she

could observe and discuss concerning everyday life experiences (Mangiameli

1997:332334). Although, to be fair to Charlotte Gower, one

could easily add that a male anthropologist (whether Italian or non-Italian)

would likely have faced similar problems conducting research with

the women of the community. To her credit, Gower recognized these

drawbacks and was able to make the best of a difficult situation.

For the ethnographic study itself, Gower focused on various aspects of

life in the community. Milocca: A Sicilian Village covers a series of topics

that range from issues surrounding status and role (and their relationship

to age and gender) to social stratification and religion. As a result,

much of the material contained in her book is what one would expect to

find in an early descriptive ethnography. Gower’s research, however, was

innovative in some respects, although in the end it failed to live up to its


First, while many anthropologists of the time were conducting research

in non-Western settings, in what some would refer to as "tribal"

or "exotic" locations, Gower was one of the first North American

anthropologists to conduct research at home (with her work among

Sicilians in Chicago) and to follow up this research in a Western

European setting (see Bernstein 2002; Lewis 1999:721). As Kertzer

(1997:73) points out, however, it is important not to overemphasize

this innovation. Gower chose an isolated community, on the margins

of Western Europe, as her research site. Sicily was at the time, and in

many respects continues to be, Italy’s island "other" (see Agnew 2000).

Milocca, in turn, as a loosely linked set of agricultural hamlets, was

an atypical agro-community even within the Sicilian interior (King and

Patterson 1990, 1992).

Second, following Robert Redfield (1928), Gower was only the second

anthropologist to concentrate on research within a specific peasant

community. Redfield’s work in Mexico stimulated a great deal of interest,

and in some cases controversy (see Oscar Lewis 1972), concerning

research among Mexican peasants (and in peasant societies in general).

Charlotte Gower’s work had the potential of generating similar interest

in the anthropology of Italy and the Mediterranean region. Her research

both predates and appears to anticipate later interest in a variMigliore,

Dorazio-Migliore, and Ingrascì 117

ety of themes in Mediterranean anthropology—including gender issues,

honor and shame, patron saints and religious festivals, factionalism, and

the study of the interrelationships among kinship, friendship and social

networks (Lepowsky 2000:138139). Gower, for example, provides an

early discussion of the social and economic aspects of what she called

cumparatu—the system of ritual kinship established through godparenthood

(Chapman 1971:115127). Ritual kinship did not become a central

theme in Mediterranean anthropology until the 1960s and ’70s (see

Davis 1977; Peristiany 1976).

Third, Gower’s research had an applied dimension. Italian immigrants

to the United States (as well as many other ethnic groups) tended to settle

in urban centers and, more specifically, in areas inhabited by other

members of their particular group. Both politicians and the general public

regarded these immigrant enclaves as a threat to the American "melting

pot" ideology. Gower’s study, as mentioned earlier, was to provide

a basis for understanding Sicilian peasant life, in order to inform policy

on immigrant settlement in the United States (Chapman 1971:vii).

This was the rationale that provided the basis for securing funds for the

research project. The promise of generating policy-related information

never materialized.2

According to Mangiameli (1997, see also 1994), the Allied Forces

made use of Gower’s manuscript, directly or indirectly, to inform some

of their actions during and immediately after World War II. During this

period, a number of anthropologists engaged in the study of "culture at

a distance"—that is, the anthropological study of "the cultural regularities

in the characters of individuals who are members of societies which

are inaccessible to direct observation . . . because a state of active warfare

exists," there are "barriers to travel and research," or due to temporal

distance from a particular population (Mead 1953b:3). These studies

often had a political purpose—such as providing information about

the enemy or providing a basis for establishing successful relationships

with allies (Mead 1953a). Mangiameli maintains that William Foote

Whyte’s article "Sicilian Peasant Society" (1944), constitutes a discussion

of culture at a distance. In the article, Whyte (1944:65) relies on

the nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century writings of Giuseppe Pitrè

and, to a lesser extent, Gower’s research on Milocca to address aspects

of Sicilian culture and society. Although Gower’s manuscript was not

published until 1971, Whyte had the opportunity to read the work because

Robert Redfield had sent him the manuscript for review in 1941.3

Mangiameli suggests that the Allied forces made use of Whyte’s article,

and/or Gower’s manuscript directly, in the occupation of Sicily and the

118 Living Memory

governance of the island after the war. Gower’s descriptions of Milocca,

local customs and the terrain in the surrounding area would have been a

major asset for the American and British occupying forces.

We have not found documentation to support Mangiameli’s suggestion.

Apparently, however, a copy of Gower’s manuscript traveled to

Britain with Radcliffe-Brown in 1937, and he had possession of the document

during the war years (see Lepowsky 2000).4 Coincidently, or not,

the Sicily Zone Handbook 1943 (see Mangiameli 1994), a manual prepared

for the British Occupation Forces in Sicily, does contain a great

deal of information concerning everything from geography to social

structure to Sicilian religious beliefs and practices. The manual makes no

reference to Gower, Radcliffe-Brown, or Whyte, so we can only speculate

as to whether or not there is a connection between the manual and

the unpublished Gower manuscript.

Manuscript Lost (and Found): The Long Road to Publication

In 1930, shortly after her return from Sicily, Charlotte Gower joined

Ralph Linton at the University of Wisconsin (Anonymous 1930:297;

Lepowsky 2000:139140). Although listed as a physical anthropologist,

her teaching duties included courses in social and cultural anthropology.

Much of the writing for Milocca: A Sicilian Village took place while

Gower was affiliated with the University of Wisconsin. She began writing

in 1930, and completed a full version of the manuscript by 1935.

Gower submitted the manuscript to the University of Chicago Press for

publication. After almost two years of consideration, in spite of Robert

Redfield and Fay-Cooper Cole’s lobbying in support of the manuscript,

the Press declined the offer to publish the work (Lepowsky 2000:150).

Gower then submitted Milocca to the University of Wisconsin Press, but

they too declined to publish the manuscript.

Between 1937 and 1942, Cole, Redfield, Radcliffe-Brown, and others

made renewed efforts to interest someone in publishing Gower’s manuscript

(see Lepowsky 2000). All of the existing copies of the work, however,

were somehow lost in the process. The manuscript did not resurface

until Fred Eggan discovered a carbon copy of the work among the

Department of Anthropology files at the University of Chicago in 1966

(Cronin 1973:515; Eggan 1971:vi). Finally, in 1970, with the encouragement

of Eggan and, indirectly, Constance Cronin, the Schenkman

Publishing Company agreed to publish the manuscript. In a letter to

Eggan, who had agreed to write the foreword to the book, Gower summarized

what transpired in the following words:

Migliore, Dorazio-Migliore, and Ingrascì 119

Why not make the poor old thing a casualty of WW II? All that

I recall was that there were hopes of a commercial publisher and

it was peddled about a bit 193537 . . . and then shipped off to

Oxford [to Radcliffe-Brown]. I left for China, war broke out in

1939, and when I got back (1942) Dr. Cole said the Department

had no copy of the MS, but thought there might be a microfilm

of it somewhere. I then gave him my yellow carbon, which you

eventually discovered.5

Milocca: A Sicilian Village finally appeared in print in 1971.

Difficult Choices in Uncertain Times

In the mid-1930s, Charlotte Gower wrote to Philleo Nash addressing

her situation at the University of Wisconsin, and her fears for the future:

Certain discoveries during the past week have pretty well destroyed

whatever confidence I may once have had in myself.

. . . I shall possibly . . . lose my position here—for general inadequacy.

[John] Gillin discussed the matter with Ralph [Linton]:

my classes are too small, and students complain that I am a

poor teacher. . . . So, in the face of the present economic crisis,

I might well be dispensed with.—I do not think that the loss

of my position, disastrous as that would be financially, is as

dreadful a prospect as the present recognition that my best is

not good enough.—Nor can I offer any excuses. My training

has been good.—Linton, telling me of the conversation, shows

a determination to fight to keep me on—but he is disappointed

in me. . . . But even if I am kept on—I shall feel "kept." . . .

So what next? I think of Radin, and Leslie Spier—I know what

opportunities I will have for another chance. The future looks

very, very gloomy.6

Ironically, these employment difficulties provided the incentive to complete

the Milocca manuscript. Gower stressed in the same letter that her

writing provided "a sanctuary" from the problems she was facing at the

University of Wisconsin. The letter also may explain why Gower began to

seek alternative employment as early as 1936 (see Lepowsky 2000:154).

By the end of 1937, Charlotte Gower had published two short articles

in Kimball Young’s Source Book for Sociology (1935a, 1935b), produced

two book reviews for American Anthropologist (1935c, 1937),

completed a full manuscript based on her research in Sicily, and initiated

a new research project with the population of New Glarus, Wisconsin

120 Living Memory

(Anonymous 1938:288; see also Lepowsky 2000:154). Yet Gower’s position

at the University of Wisconsin remained tenuous. In January 1938,

she received official news that her contract would not be renewed when

it expired in June 1939.7 John Gillin (chair, Department of Sociology and

Anthropology), in a letter to G. C. Sellery (dean, College of Letters and

Science, University of Wisconsin), identified two reasons for not renewing

Gower’s appointment: lack of student interest in her courses, and a

lack of research and publication while at Wisconsin.8 Failure to publish

the Milocca manuscript between 1935 and 1938 served as a key rationale

for not renewing Gower’s contract at Wisconsin.

A relatively large number of American women sought a higher education

in anthropology, particularly at Columbia University, between 1921

and 1940 (Cole 1999:13). Some of these women were successful in securing

academic positions and advancing their career goals. Ruth Benedict

and Margaret Mead stand out as two of the more prominent female anthropologists

of the period. Gender-based biases and constraints, however,

played a major role in the lives of most, if not all, of these women

(see Cole 1999, 2003). Charlotte Gower’s life in anthropology, as Maria

Lepowsky (2000) effectively points out, was not free of these biases and

constraints. A weak teaching and publication record may have played a

role in the decision to terminate Gower’s appointment, but the circumstances

surrounding the decision were certainly much more complex.

Rather than wait for her contract to expire, Gower resigned from her

position at Wisconsin. The late 1930s were difficult years for anthropologists,

particularly female anthropologists, seeking positions in the

United States. So, with the help of Fay-Cooper Cole and Robert Redfield

(see Lepowsky 2000:157158), Gower applied for and secured a position

at Lingnan University in Canton, China. Her plan at the time was

to teach at Lingnan for three years (Gower 1938).9

The Japanese attacked and occupied Canton shortly after Gower’s arrival

in China. In the initial months of the occupation, Gower served as

a volunteer at the refugee hospital that was quickly set up at the university

campus. She described it thus:

There were 8,000 refugees at one time camped on the campus.

I served as pharmacist for the Red Cross and helped distribute

food and clothing. I stayed until ’39, but after the Chinese burned

Canton in their scorched earth program, I moved to Hong Kong,

where Ling Nan University carried on. (Smith 1943)

In Hong Kong, Gower resumed her position as dean of women at

Lingnan University ("Miss Gower Tells of Life" 1943).

Migliore, Dorazio-Migliore, and Ingrascì 121

Within a short time, Hong Kong too fell to the Japanese. Several days

later Gower and other "enemy aliens" were interned at the Stanley concentration

camp on the island (Corbett 1963:138139). Gower described

her predicament in this way:

We had a fairly decent camp, but it was terribly crowded. . . .

The crowding was next worst to the constant, gnawing hunger.

From January to March we were almost always hungry. At

first our diet was fixed at 1,000 calories per day, and if most of

us had not brought extra supplies, we would have died. ("Miss

Gower Tells of Life" 1943)

Charlotte Gower was released in 1942 as part of the Gripsholm exchange

of prisoners, and returned to the United States (Henney 1943;

Hess 1966).

A number of prominent American anthropologists were involved in

the war effort at the time. Fay-Cooper Cole "was engaged in the training

of Army and Navy officers in the Civil Affairs Training School for the

Far East, where his long experience in Southeast Asia and the Philippines

was put to practical use" (Eggan 1963:643). It was through Cole’s connections

in Washington that Gower became involved with the American

wartime intelligence efforts (see Lepowsky 2000:160).10

On January 6, 1943, Robert Hutchins (president, University of Chicago)

wrote a letter of recommendation in support of Charlotte Gower’s

application to the U.S. Marine Corps. In the letter, Hutchins stressed

Gower’s outstanding ability in collecting, analyzing, and presenting technical

information, and referred to her as "an exceptionally capable and

brilliant woman" (Mattingly 1979:62). Gower quickly became a captain,

and later a major, in the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve—where

she served as director of training ("Capt. Gower Now" 1943; "Once at

U.W." 1943). In recognition of her service to the Marine Corps, Gower

was awarded the Navy Letter of Commendation (Mattingly 1979).

Then, on June 1, 1944, Gower became affiliated with the Office of Strategic

Services (Meid 1968; Mattingly 1979). Her experiences in Canton

and Hong Kong, along with her knowledge of the Cantonese language,

made her a valuable asset in both the war effort and the Cold War that

followed. Given her status with the secret service, it is also conceivable,

as Mangiameli (1994, 1997) suggests, that Gower’s research in Milocca

made its way into American strategic plans for the occupation and governance

of Sicily.

After the war, in 1946, Gower returned briefly to China and Lingnan

University to take on the position of Head of the Department of Sociology

122 Living Memory

(Chapman 1947). She married Savilion H. Chapman in 1947. That same

year, the year "the CIA was founded, she joined the agency and remained

with it until her retirement in 1971" ("Obituary—Charlotte Chapman"

1982). Savilion Chapman served as "an operations officer in the field of

maritime affairs" with the CIA from 1947 to 1966 ("Obituary—Savilion

H. Chapman" 1992).

Charlotte Gower was one of a number of anthropologists who worked

directly or indirectly with the Office of Strategic Services, and later the

CIA. In the mid-1960s, with public attention focused on Project Camelot,

11 the discussion of the interrelationships between anthropological

ethics and work for intelligence agencies reached a point of crisis (see

Nader 1997; Price 2002). Unfortunately, we have not found any documents

that provide insight into how Gower rationalized her position

with the CIA, and how she viewed the debates that started to take place

within the discipline of anthropology.

By the time Milocca: A Sicilian Village made its way into print, Charlotte

Gower Chapman for all intents and purposes was outside of the

field of anthropology. A variety of factors contributed to ensure that she

would not become a key figure in the discipline: (1) the difficulties she

experienced in her quest to secure an academic position; (2) the thirtysix-

year delay in publication of her manuscript; (3) the fact that she did

not publish any anthropological works in the years just before, or after,

the publication of the Milocca ethnography;12 (4) the ethnography itself

did not provide a strong theoretical contribution to the growing body of

anthropological literature; and (5) the secret nature of her work for the

CIA made any written documents she may have produced for the agency

invisible for an anthropological audience (Murray 2005:73).

Milocca’s Place in Scholarly Literature

A number of scholars have reviewed Gower Chapman’s Milocca over

the years. In an early, pre-publication review, William Whyte identified

a series of shortcomings in the manuscript.13 He concluded that the author

should have paid more attention to the social structure of Milocca

and the processes of social mobility within the community. Overall, he

welcomes Gower’s contribution to the anthropological study of peasant

societies. The post-publication reviews discuss the manuscript in a

positive light (see Cappanari 1973; Cronin 1973; Knop 1973; Scarpaci

1973; Davis 1974; Sterling 1975). Reviewers tend to regard the manuscript

(including the striking photographs of people and their activities)

as an important historical document. Paul Sterling, for example, states,

"The publication of this record from nearly 50 years ago will supply anMigliore,

Dorazio-Migliore, and Ingrascì 123

thropologists, sociologists and social historians interested in Sicily, the

Mafia, the Mediterranean, peasants, Fascism and so on, with a mine of

information" (1975:318).

Scarpaci (1973) takes the discussion one step further to identify a

weakness in Edward Banfield’s The Moral Basis of a Backward Society

(1958). In the 1960s and 1970s, Banfield drew heavy criticism for reducing

"all of Italian society south of Rome to the single behavioural

trope of ‘amoral familism’" (Schneider and Schneider 2003:110). For

Banfield (1958:83), amoral familism represented the following strategy:

"Maximize the material short range advantages of the nuclear family;

assume that all others will do likewise." More specifically, he argued that

community cooperation to solve local problems in Montegrano (and by

extrapolation other southern Italian towns) was not possible, because

people were more concerned with promoting the interests of their own

families. Scarpaci makes use of Gower Chapman’s manuscript to show

that Banfield’s behavioral trope did not apply in the case of Milocca.

He states, moreover, that: "Banfield’s theory of amoral familism loses

its sharp definition in the Milocchese world of informal co-operation

among residents of each robba [agricultural hamlet] and in the Sicilian

system of extended kinship and friendship based on cumparatu [ritual

co-parenthood]" (Scarpaci 1973:213).

If these reviews are any indication, Milocca: A Sicilian Village was well

received when it finally appeared in print in 1971. Constance Cronin

went as far as to indicate, "Chapman, Eggan, and the publisher have

performed a valuable service to the social sciences in presenting this volume"

(1973:515). George M. Foster, in a Schenkman Publishing Company

advertisement in Current Anthropology, is quoted as referring to

the book as "The finest account of peasant life I have ever encountered"

(1972:back matter). In fact, in an unsolicited letter to Alfred Schenkman,

dated January 18, 1972, Foster suggests that in comparison to Redfield’s

Tepoztlán: A Mexican Village, Gower Chapman’s Milocca "is the better

of the two." As mentioned earlier, Gower Chapman’s work in Sicily anticipated

many of the themes that later became prevalent in Italian and

Mediterranean anthropology. Her work has been cited, and continues to

be cited, by scholars dealing with Sicily and the Mediterranean region,

as well as by those interested in Italian immigration to various overseas

destinations (e.g., Cronin 1970; Davis 1977; Reeder 2003). For these

and other reasons, Susan Parman lists Gower Chapman’s Milocca as a

"classic" text "in the anthropology of Europe" and "the classic ethnography

of Italy"—the type of text where "the imagination of the writer

(and the reader) engages the specifics of ethnographic detail and orches124

Living Memory

trates this detail to produce insight" (1997:10). These positive reviews,

comments, and citations, however, have not been sufficient to earn Charlotte

Gower Chapman a more prominent place in the history of North

American anthropology.

Relatively speaking, Gower Chapman’s work in Sicily has received

much more attention by European scholars. John Davis, in his People

of the Mediterranean (1977), makes extensive reference to the Milocca

ethnography. It is Wim Ravesteijn, however, who provides an early, critical

look at some of the ideas contained in the manuscript. Ravesteijn

(1979a) conducted anthropological research for his MA thesis in Milocca

(now Milena) between October 1977 and February 1978. The thesis

constitutes a restudy of Milocca, focusing primarily on the various

economic and political changes that took place in the community after

1930. Ravesteijn (1979b) is particularly critical of Gower Chapman’s

suggestion that little had changed in Milocca. In her preface to the ethnography,

Gower Chapman attempts to compensate for the long delay

in the publication of the manuscript by making the following statement:

During the forty years . . . since I studied Milocca, enormous

changes have taken place throughout the world . . . . Milocca

is now connected with the rest of the world by an automobile

road, and is reported to have electricity. . . . However, it

is doubtful that the basic economy has changed or that there

has been a marked increase in population. The hilly terrain does

not lend itself to mechanized agriculture. It is likely that life is

not much different from what it was when I was there, with the

same social stratification and local politics dominated by two

rival factions. Standards of conduct, which forty years ago differed

little from those in more advanced Sicilian communities,

are probably much the same. (1971:ix)

Unfortunately, Gower Chapman made the statement without the benefit

of revisiting the community. Much had changed.

Milocca becomes Milena

There is evidence of a long history of human habitation dating back to

the early Neolithic period in the area of Milocca-Milena, particularly in

the vicinity of Serra del Palco (see La Rosa 1997). In more recent history,

this area was under the municipal control of the two larger communities

of Sutera and Campofranco. Milocca became an autonomous

unit in 1923 (Petìx 1992:11). Several years after Charlotte Gower had

Migliore, Dorazio-Migliore, and Ingrascì 125

left Milocca, during an eleven-month period between February and

December 1933, the community went through a metamorphosis. Milocca

became Villa Littoria, then Littoria Nissena, and finally Milena—after

Milena Vukotic of Montenegro, the mother of Italy’s Queen Elena (see

Petìx 1992:1314, 2003). The name change(s) occurred due to political

interests within the Fascist Party, with the final decision coming from

outside Milocca-Milena itself.

Economic, Political, and Social Change

Although the name change is significant, Ravesteijn (1979b) concentrates

on a series of additional changes that affected life in Milena.

Gower Chapman was correct in her assertion that the population size of

Milocca in the late 1920s was not much different from the population

size of Milena in 1971. What she failed to realize is that the population

figures were similar not because community structure and activity remained

the same, but rather because socioeconomic conditions sparked

a great deal of out-migration (Ravesteijn 1978, 1979b:586; see also

Virciglio 1991). This migration process, in turn, brought about major

social and cultural changes in the community (see Pasqualino 1990).

In terms of the political and economic situation, King and Patterson

(1990; see also Patterson 1992) argue that the Milocca text failed to examine

adequately two significant phenomena. First, although Gower

Chapman (1971:151) makes passing reference to Milocchese emigration

to specific locations in the United States, she does not address the ways

this emigration process may have influenced change in the community.

Second, Gower Chapman failed to address the Fascist policies that were

producing change in the rural areas of Sicily at the very moment she

was conducting research in Milocca. Gower Chapman chose to concentrate

on Milocca as an isolated peasant community rather than a community

experiencing a great deal of political, economic, and social influence

from an external political force. As part of this critique, Patterson

(1992) suggests that Gower Chapman failed to address adequately the

effects brought about by the Fascist government’s attempts to suppress

the Mafia in Sicily. These weaknesses in the ethnography are compounded

further by her failure to acknowledge the possibility of change between

1930 and 1971. Ravesteijn (1979b), for example, points out that

the Angilella faction had virtually disappeared by the early 1970s; there

were now three political parties—the Christian Democrats (DC), the

communist PCI, and the socialist PSI—competing for power (see also

Patterson 1997).

126 Living Memory

Milena also experienced significant economic change. According to

Ravesteijn (1979b:586), although the economy was still "agricultural

and wheat-oriented," agrarian activity had declined and much of the

land in the vicinity of Milena remained "uncultivated or neglected."

He also points out that the economy, as a result of European economic

agreements, was now very much susceptible to and dependent upon

new forces outside of Sicily and the Italian state. Vito Messana (1985:9)

takes the criticism one step further. He points out that, beginning in the

mid-1960s, there was a progressive disintegration of many local traditions

in the area, due to sviluppo (development) and the introduction of

new communication technologies.

Charlotte Gower Chapman herself, in a letter to Wim Ravesteijn, attributes

her failure to acknowledge the possibility of change in her preface

to Milocca: A Sicilian Village to three interrelated factors:

I suppose that where I went wrong in my rash 1971 predictions

was my lack of faith in the future of mechanization of farming

in Milocca. It has resulted in less land being cultivated, now that

patches accessible only to the zappa (mattock) are simply left

uncultivated. . . . In fact, I did not give sufficient weight to the

opening up of Milena by the highway. Nor did I conceive what

the effective use of a socialist government would do. (Ravesteijn


At one level, Gower Chapman’s speculation that little had changed

in Milocca can be excused simply as an unfortunate case of an anthropologist

losing touch with her research community. At another level, it

may constitute a style of communication linked to the very history of

anthropology—a style of communication that involves aspects of nostalgia,

romanticism, or the conflation of the past with the present to signify

that one feels a closeness to the community even though she or he has

been absent for a period of time. In 2005, for instance, Sam Migliore returned

to Milena after a two-year absence. He caught himself, on at least

three occasions, making use of a similar style of communication with

statements such as "things seem the same here in Milena" or "nothing

seems to have changed" (Sam Migliore, field notes). Yet a number of

things had changed, and he knew that changes had taken place based on

numerous telephone conversations with community members. Four of

these changes, for example, include the opening of a new caffé/bar near

the town square, the signing of a Friendship Pact with the city of Asti in

northern Italy, scholastic and cultural exchanges with schools in Belgium

and Poland, and an attempt by certain individuals to revive some aspects

of the celebration of Corpus Domini (Lu Signuri) in Milena.

Migliore, Dorazio-Migliore, and Ingrascì 127

In the Roman Catholic tradition, the celebration of Corpus Domini

takes place each year approximately sixty days after Easter. The celebration

occurs in honor of the Eucharist (the transformation of the bread

into the body of Christ). In the past, Milena’s celebration of Lu Signuri

began on Holy Thursday, and involved a procession transporting the

Eucharistic bread through the various robbe (or segments) of the larger

community. People displayed their finest linen along the procession

route, while certain families set up small altars outside of their homes

(see Chapman 1971: photos 20, 2324; and Chapman 1973:210211).

The priest placed the consecrated host (Lu Signuri) on the altar, where

it remained overnight. The procession continued the next day, stopping

at the next altar. It often took a week to complete the procession and return

Lu Signuri to the church. In recent years the celebration has become

a one-day event, with the proceedings taking place on the Sunday and

people preparing very few, if any, altars. In May 2005, just a few days

after Sam Migliore arrived in Milena, three families prepared elaborate

altars for Lu Signuri.14 Change, whether significant or minor, is continuously

taking place in Milena, as it is elsewhere. It is difficult to criticize

a scholar for conflating the past with the present, however, one realizes,

through personal experience, how easy it is to fall into the trap of ignoring

these changes in everyday conversation.

At yet another level, failure to address issues of change are consistent

with earlier conceptions of culture as something: "shared within a particular

social group; unique, bounded and homogeneous; relatively fixed,

consistent and stable; and, marked by holism and historical endurance"

(Dorazio-Migliore et al. 2005:341; see also Clifford and Marcus 1986).

The danger of representing culture in these terms is that it creates a negative

stereotype of a particular group of people and their way of life. This

is particularly important in any discussion of an unchanging "Sicilian

culture," because the phrase is often loaded with images of fatalism, organized

crime, "codes of honour and vendetta," and so on (see Schneider

and Schneider 2003:104105). In a recent article in The Times, Federico

Varese discussed the capture of a prominent Mafia boss:

An invaluable guide to [the world of the Mafia] is still the ethnography

written in the late 1920s by Charlotte Gower, an

American anthropologist. She spent a year in the small village

of Milocca, some 80 miles south of Palermo. When the fascist

police raided the village searching for Mafiosi, "the square," she

wrote, "was filled with bleating sheep, goats, horses and mules."

With minor alterations, these words could well describe the

128 Living Memory

central square of Corleone today. Another unchanging feature

shared by these Mafiosi is their deep attachment to the Catholic

Church. (Varese 2006)

Gower Chapman’s failure to acknowledge the possibility of change in

Milena, in a sense, helps to reinforce certain stereotypes of Sicilians and

their "culture." Uncritical or unqualified uses of her work today have

the potential of ensuring the continued survival of these stereotypes.

Milocca: A Sicilian Village—An Italian Edition

Alba Angilella, the daughter of Don Totò Angilella, recalls that Charlotte

Gower Chapman sent at least one copy of her ethnography to Milena

once it appeared in print (Vincenzo Ingrascì, field notes). By 1976, Giovanni

Cordaro, Arturo Petìx, and others in Milena were taking a serious

interest in the manuscript. Cordaro, in fact, went as far as to write to

Fred Eggan to (1) enquire formally about the possibility of someone in

Milena preparing an Italian translation of the ethnography; and, (2) inform

him that a student was interested in conducting a follow-up study

of Milocca-Milena.15 The student’s name is not specified in the correspondence

available to us. Wim Ravesteijn, as mentioned earlier, conducted

research in Milena in 197778. The student Cordaro was referring

to, however, may have been Paolino Schillaci. Schillaci (1978), a

Milocchese fluent in English, conducted a restudy of Milocca-Milena as

part of his degree requirements at the University of Palermo. His thesis,

Rileggendo: Milocca a Sicilian Village, attempts to correct some factual

errors in the Gower Chapman ethnography, as well as expand discussion

of certain cultural beliefs and practices present in the 1920s through interviews

with community elders.

Arturo Petìx (19191987), a highly acclaimed local historian, published

the first edition of his Da Milocca a Milena in 1984 (reprinted

1992). The manuscript makes only brief mention of Charlotte Gower

Chapman’s work (Petìx 1992:143, 146). This was due, in part, to the fact

that Petìx was not proficient in the English language. At the same time,

however, he was critical of the ethnography’s lack of time depth, and

the presence of factual errors in the few places where Gower Chapman

did comment on local history. Nonetheless, during the early 1980s, Petìx

worked hard to promote the publication of an Italian translation of the

ethnography, through the efforts of Paolino Schillaci. The local authorities,

however, became increasingly concerned that an Italian translation

would be viewed, at least in the eyes of some community members, as a

negative portrayal of certain families, and possibly the community as a

Migliore, Dorazio-Migliore, and Ingrascì 129

whole, because: the research was based on direct observation and interviews;

and, Gower Chapman mentioned people by name (or nickname)

as she described the conditions under which they lived (for example,

the fact that some people lived in the same structure as their animals).

Without the support of the local administration, the project came to a

sudden halt.

It was Vito Messana of Montedoro, a community a short distance

from Milena, that eventually published the Italian translation—Milocca:

Un Villaggio Siciliano (1985). Messana (1984) completed the translation

while serving a physically and mentally challenging prison term at the

Carcere di Rebibbia in Rome for participation in the Red Brigades (see

also King and Patterson 1990). Although Arturo Petìx was involved in

the project, he restricted his efforts to the translation of Sicilian linguistic

terms. In the preface, Messana briefly relates the background to Gower

Chapman’s research and the publication of the ethnography, identifies

certain weaknesses inherent in the manuscript (such as the issue of

"change"), and expresses his hope that the translation would serve as a

catalyst for future research on Milena.

To commemorate the new translation, Messana’s friends and relatives

organized a book launch in Montedoro. Vito Messana was released from

prison temporarily to take part in the celebration (King and Patterson

1990:21 n.4). He arrived for the event accompanied by two carabinieri

(Mangiameli 1997). The celebration soon became a politically charged

spectacle. According to Mangiameli (1997:332), the proceedings were

interrupted when one of the speakers from Montedoro commented that

(1) such a laudable initiative, so important to the Milocchesi, should

have been undertaken in Milena; and (2) no one from Milena’s administrative

council had bothered to even attend the celebration. The proceedings

soon deteriorated into a shouting match between people from

the two communities. Mangiameli (1997) regards the conflict as a case

of campanelismo (the expression of community attachment and loyalty)

intensified with the passion of political tension. The Communist Party

was in power in Montedoro, while the Socialists controlled the administration

in Milena. There are different versions, however, of what actually

transpired at the launch. Certain members of the community recall that

it was one of the leaders of the communist group in Milena itself that

made the offending comments. Although the mayor of Milena, Salvatore

Luparelli, did not attend the celebration, members of the socialist group

were present to observe the proceedings, and they reacted quickly to the

negative comments about their administration. Federico Messana, the

mayor of Montedoro (and a relative of Vito Messana), intervened by

130 Living Memory

stating loudly, "we are not here to make politics; we are here to make

culture" (Vincenzo Ingrascì, field notes). To diffuse the conflict, he began

to read a passage from a Sicilian play about courtship and marriage,

as quoted in the Gower Chapman ethnography (1985:124125). The

archpriest of Montedoro, Don Andrea Duminuco, then blessed all those

present to prevent any further hostilities.

Milocca Restudied, and Re-Restudied

The Italian translation of Gower Chapman’s Milocca opened the door

for a series of studies and restudies of Milocca-Milena by graduate students

enrolled at universities in Sicily (and other parts of Italy). Of these

works, Caterina Pasqualino’s doctoral dissertation in anthropology

(University of Palermo) is particularly significant. Pasqualino published

a modified version of her dissertation as Milena: Un paese Siciliano

sessant’anni dopo in 1990. She divides the manuscript into two primary

sections. The first section revisits Gower Chapman’s ethnography

in terms of three interrelated themes—a discussion of Milocca’s social

space, social interaction, and the family. Pasqualino (1990:27) suggests

that Gower Chapman was not only influenced by the Chicago School of

Sociology and Robert Redfield’s work in Mexico, but also by theoretical

ideas associated with functionalism. She argues that a reading of the

ethnography indicates that Gower Chapman accepted and incorporated

notions of "harmony" and "functionality" into her work. In certain

respects, this is not surprising. We know that Radcliffe-Brown was at

the University of Chicago at the time Gower was preparing the Milocca

manuscript, and that the two were in communication with one another

(see Lepowsky 2000). The detailed correspondence between Charlotte

Gower and Philleo Nash during the 1930s also confirms her interest in

functionalism as a theoretical orientation for anthropological understanding.

16 According to Pasqualino (1990:60), Gower Chapman may

mention factional tensions in Milocca but, taken as a whole, her ethnography

generates an image of the community as united, harmonious,

and homogeneous (see also King and Patterson 1990, 1992; Patterson

1992). In the second section, Pasqualino addresses issues of change and

persistence in Milena during the roughly sixty-year period after Gower

Chapman completed her research in Milocca. Pasqualino’s restudy, then,

confirms and expands upon the critique of Gower Chapman’s portrayal

of Milocca as harmonious and unchanging.

Since 1990 a number of Italian students, and sometimes professors,

have produced works dealing with either Gower Chapman or Milocca-

Milena. Rosa Maria C. Taffaro (2000), for example, produced a thesis

Migliore, Dorazio-Migliore, and Ingrascì 131

at the University of Palermo updating the discussion of change in Milena

to the end of the twentieth century. Maria Massa, in contrast, produced

a thesis titled Un’Americana a Milocca). Her thesis touches on a number

of issues, including two not discussed in earlier works. First, she focuses

on linguistic differences and anomalies between the English and

the Italian versions of the ethnography. Massa points out passages where

Vito Messana has incorrectly translated certain words, or misinterpreted

the meaning behind specific phrases. Although readers of the Italian text

should be aware of these anomalies, their presence does not devalue the

importance of Messana’s contribution. Second, Massa addresses Gower

Chapman’s use of photography in both research and publication. She

argues that the photos provide a vehicle for comparison, and thereby

an excellent basis for an examination of change in Milocca since the

1930s. She also argues that by bringing the latest equipment from the

United States to Milocca, and taking many, many photographs, Gower

Chapman actually introduced new ideas and ways of seeing the world to

community members. In our view, it is ironic that someone who did not

believe that any significant change had taken place in Milocca-Milena

over an approximately forty-year period may actually have been instrumental

in stimulating at least some aspects of change in the community.

More recently, Maria Lisa Bonanno (2006) produced a thesis at the

University of Palermo dealing with the depiction of the Sicilian peasantry

in the writings of Angelina Lanza Damiani, Louise Hamilton Caico,

and Charlotte Gower Chapman.17

In summary, American anthropologists, with the exception of Maria

Lepowsky (2000), have paid limited or uncritical attention to Charlotte

Gower Chapman’s ethnography. Milocca: A Sicilian Village, in contrast,

has received much more sustained and critical attention in European

circles, particularly by students at Sicilian and mainland Italian universities.

Milocca’s Place in the History of Milena

In 1993 Caroline Brettel edited a special volume addressing this question:

What happens when research "subjects" read the ethnographies

anthropologists produce? The answer, in part, depends on what has

been written, how people interpret the ethnography, and the potential

implications of the work for specific individuals and the community as

a whole. Today, Milena has a population of approximately 3,400 people.

Not everyone in the community has read Milocca: A Sicilian Village,

and Charlotte Gower Chapman (sometimes referred to as La Gower,

La Chapman, or Donna Carlotta) is not a name often heard in peo132

Living Memory

ple’s regular everyday conversations. Most people, however, have some

knowledge of the American anthropologist and her work—a knowledge

ranging from the indirect and superficial to an in-depth knowledge of,

and scholarly interest in, what she and others have written about the


At a more personal level, members of the Angilella family recall fondly

the woman who spent almost two years under the care and protection of

Don Totò Angilella. According to Alba Angilella, Charlotte Gower and

the Angilellas developed a strong friendship that lasted long after Gower

had returned to the United States. They exchanged letters for a number

of years and, on occasion, Gower sent gifts—such as crocheted shoes she

herself had made, as well as toys—for the children. Signora Alba also

recalls that a family member, the lawyer Silvio Angilella, along with his

wife, paid Charlotte Gower a visit in the United States in the early 1960s

(see also Ravesteijn n.d.:50). Signor Silvio, who had served as one of

Gower’s guides in Sicily, did not know her address in Washington DC.

He was amazed "that he simply had to look up her name in the telephone

directory of the area designated as the Intelligence Sector of the

city" to locate her (Patterson 1992:85). The Angilella family was proud

to hear from Silvio that Gower welcomed him in a room she had filled

with photos and memorabilia of Milocca, items she used to remember

her days in Sicily (Vincenzo Ingrascì, field notes). For the Angilellas, La

Gower has become an integral figure in their family history.

Charlotte Gower Chapman is also a significant figure in the history

of Milena as a community. Many towns and rural areas across Europe

are in the process of 1) rediscovering, documenting and, in many cases,

publicly acknowledging or celebrating various aspects of their cultural

history; and 2) making use of their knowledge of the past to formulate

or contest plans for the future. Milena is no exception. La Gower and

Milocca: A Sicilian Village figure prominently in this process.

Local and Regional Publications

Luigi Pirandello, the famous Sicilian author awarded the Nobel Prize

for Literature in 1934, was probably the first modern writer to incorporate

Milocca into his works. Two of the short stories he produced at the

beginning of the twentieth century, Acqua e lì and Le sorprese della scienza,

are set explicitly in Milocca. Mention of Milocca also appears in

his 1913 novel, I Vecchi e i Giovani. According to a blurb about Milena

on the Provincia regionale di Caltanissetta (2003) Web site, however, the

1971 publication of Gower Chapman’s ethnography officially represents

the birth of interest in the modern cultural history of Milocca-Milena. In

Migliore, Dorazio-Migliore, and Ingrascì 133

a sense, La Gower not only placed the community on the international

map, but her work has served as the starting point or referent for much

that has been written or published about Milocca-Milena since 1971.

In some cases, local or regional writers simply make reference to,

provide brief quotations from, or make use of photos related to Gower

Chapman’s work (see, for example, Difrancesco 2007; Ingrascì 1996;

Petìx 2000; and Testa 1984). In contrast, Arturo Petìx, as mentioned previously,

was more concerned with identifying factual errors in the ethnography.

In Feste Religiose a Milena (1996), Arturo’s son, Carlo Petìx, also

addresses some of these errors. La Gower, for example, stated that "the

Angilellas were faithful to the [Madonna of the] Addolorata because the

founder of the Milocchese branch of the family had been the donor of her

statue in the church, and the first to organize her annual festa" (Chapman

1971:159). Carlo Petìx (1996:44) points out that, although the Angilella

family has had an important link with the Madonna Addolorata and her

festa, the inscription on the statue itself indicates that it was three other

individuals who donated the statue to the church. Petìx (1996:36) also

points out that Gower Chapman (1973:227) mistakenly labeled photograph

24 of the ethnography as a procession for Saint Joseph. The statue

in the photo is actually that of Sant’Antonio Abate.

With respect to emigration from Milocca to the United States, Gower

Chapman suggested that the Milocchesi did not establish any formal

organizations. Instead, they remained "united by ties of blood kinship,

or friendship" (Chapman 1971:151). Giuseppe Virciglio (1991:198)

points out that this statement is incorrect. Milocchesi workers in West

Wyoming, Pennsylvania, had in fact established a mutual-aid society

(Società mutuo soccorso milocchesi) as early as 191516. Virciglio suggests

that people may have held back this information from La Gower

out of fear that she was an American spy gathering material that might

be used to harm emigrants in the United States.

Some of these factual errors may not seem significant to an anthropological

or North American audience. At the local level, the correction

of errors made by foreign scholars takes on a different significance. As

Leonardo Sciascia (2003:19) stated in Milena for the September 7, 1985,

launch of Arturo Petìx’s Da Milocca a Milena, "the history of a town is

also a form of research into a collective individuality, from which people

may find their personal identity" (our translation). The correction of

these factual errors is a reflection of Milena’s civic pride—a pride that

has fostered interest and participation in various cultural heritage initiatives,

including the production of a number of noteworthy publications.

Of the more recent publications, the one that stands out as particu134

Living Memory

larly significant is Vincenzo La Rosa’s edited volume Dalle capanne alle

robbe: La storia lunga di Milocca-Milena (1997). This ambitious work

brings together a series of articles dealing with approximately twenty

years of archaeological research in the vicinity of Milena, and combines

them with historical pieces, ethnographic works, as well as other contributions.

The La Rosa volume stands as an invaluable resource for both

the local and the scholarly community. La Gower features prominently in

the publication. The book not only contains a selection from the Italian

version of Gower Chapman’s Milocca, but also material that deals directly

and critically with her work—for example, articles or reprints from the

writings of Mangiameli, Messana, Patterson, and Ravesteijn. Given the

scholarly attention La Gower receives in this volume, and the fact that

the book was published by the Pro Loco of Milena (a local, voluntary

organization devoted to promoting various aspects of Milena), it is clear

that at least certain segments of the community regard her work as a significant

contribution to Milena’s culture and history.

A Calendar for Milena

One of the more interesting local publications to make use of Gower

Chapman’s work is the 1998 historical calendar (C’era una volta Milocca)

complied by Tommaso Palumbo and Vincenzo Ingrascì. The calendar

features both photos and text from La Gower’s research in Milocca,

and places them within an historical context. January and February

open with an extended excerpt from Pirandello’s La sorprese della scienza.

This is followed, for March, with a segment from the Italian version

of Gower Chapman’s preface to Milocca. In the brief introduction

to this piece, the compilers refer to La Gower’s ethnography as a true

milestone in the community’s "patrimonio culturale" (cultural heritage),

while their final note (at the end of the calendar) states forcibly that

without Gower Chapman, Milena would not be as famous, and would

not have attracted so much scholarly attention around the world. Vincenzo

Ingrascì also presents this notion in his 2007 poem "Microismo di

Milocca" (translated by Calogero Milazzo and Sam Migliore):

La poetica della vita Contadina The poetics of rural life

Charlotte Day Gower Chapman Charlotte Day Gower Chapman

Portò al mondo intero vicina To the entire world brought near

Lo scibile postero al luogo chiama Beckoning further research hither

The remaining sections of the calendar include excerpts from more recent

writings on Milena, including the ethnographic work of Pasqualino

Migliore, Dorazio-Migliore, and Ingrascì 135

(1990) and Ravensteijn (n.d.) examining changes that have taken place

in Milocca-Milena in the years after Gower Chapman’s original study.

The publication of the calendar was made possible by the Banca di

Credito Cooperativo di Milena, and it was distributed gratis to all of the

families of community. This calendar was the first product to bring La

Gower’s photos and writing into every home, and thereby raise awareness

of her work throughout the community. In the concluding statement,

Palumbo and Ingrascì express a plea to the community to "dedicate a

road, a piazza, a space to Charlotte" (our translation). Vincenzo Ingrascì

repeats this plea in a brief article for La voce di Campofranco (2002).

La Casa Museo, L’Antiquarium, and the Internet

Giuseppe P. Palumbo served as president of Milena’s Pro Loco during

much of the 1980s and 1990s. One year after the publication of Vito

Messana’s translation of Milocca: A Sicilian Village (1985), Palumbo

and others formally opened the Casa Museo della civiltà contadina—a

typical, late-nineteenth-century home transformed into a museum commemorating

peasant life and culture. The inspiration for establishing the

Casa Museo came directly from La Gower’s ethnography. Today, under

the leadership of Onofrio Raimondi, the museum continues to attract

visitors from various places, including school children. The Pro Loco

has prepared a pamphlet, with both photos and text, for distribution to

visitors. As part of the text, Enzo Tona selected a series of quotes from

Gower Chapman’s ethnography to give meaning to the photographs.

Giuseppe Palumbo is now curator of L’Antiquarium of Milena. The

Antiquarium—named after Arturo Petìx in recognition of his extensive

contributions to the study of the history and pre-history of Milena—

houses a selection of archaeological materials excavated at various sites

in the vicinity of the community. To coincide with the official opening

of the Antiquarium, on November 28, 2002, the Department of Beni

Culturali ed Ambientali of the Sicilian Regional Government sponsored

the publication of a special volume devoted to the new structure and its

contents (see Guzzone 2002). The text, however, deals not only with archaeological

research and artefacts, but also Gower Chapman’s Milocca.

In addition, Palumbo, in homage to La Gower, has set up a large poster

display with photos, titled A Sicilian Village, in the Antiquarium.

Although neither the Casa Museo nor the Antiquarium was dedicated

to Charlotte Gower Chapman, they provide an important physical space

that commemorates her historical link to the community.

Over the years, the community’s treasures, from both the ancient and

136 Living Memory

more recent periods, have been brought to the attention of a wider audience

in Italy, and around the world, through newspaper and magazine

articles, travel brochures, and the Internet. In 1990, for example,

Adele Cambria (a journalist) wrote a popular piece about the ancient

tombs discovered in the vicinity of Milena, as well as Charlotte Gower

Chapman’s work in the area. More recently, Milena’s cultural and historical

legacy has been advertised in the travel and tourism writings of

John Barracough (1998), Emileo Barbera (1999), and Milena’s own offical

Web site (www.comune.milena.cl.it). La Gower in one way or another

is noticeably present in all of these writings.

From Milena to Asti and Aix-les-Bains:

La Gower’s Presence in Community Activities

Over the years, Milena experienced a significant out-migration. The cities

of Asti, in the Piedmont region of Italy; Aix-les-Bains , France; and

Basilea, Switzerland, attracted a significant number of these emigrants

(Bonomo Ingrao 1993; Virciglio 1991). By the late 1980s, Milena and its

emigrant communities in these three centers began to engage in serious

efforts to maintain and strengthen their many social and cultural links.

In 1986, for example, the Administration and Pro Loco of Milena sponsored

a photographic exhibition titled I Milenesi ad Asti. The exhibition

consisted of a collection of Pietro Nicastro photographs depicting various

aspects of life for the Milenese of Asti (Bonomo Ingrao 1993). Three

years later, on June 2, 1989, as part of a series of exchanges between

the two communities, representatives of the city of Asti organized a special

presentation for Vito Messana’s translation of the Gower Chapman

text (Bonomo Ingrao 1993:14; Virciglio 1991:195). The evening opened

with a slide show featuring Pietro Nicastro’s photographs of Milena,

and was followed with presentations by political figures, Vito Messana,

and Giuseppe Virciglio. The event itself was a success, attracting a large

crowd of Milenese emigrants interested in hearing about Milocca and its

history. According to Virciglio (1991:195), the evening served to highlight

the uniqueness of Milocca’s story, and to valorize people’s sense

of identity as Milochese-Milenese. La Gower and her Milocca, through

this special presentation, suddenly became an important bridge linking

the two communities together. The historical Milocca, and Gower

Chapman’s representation of Milocca, serve as core symbols, among

others, that help unify the two communities.

Asti also hosted a book launch for Giuseppe Virciglio’s Milocca al

nord (1991) in the early 1990s. Although the book deals primarily with

the Milenese community of Asti, Virciglio devotes a great deal of time

Migliore, Dorazio-Migliore, and Ingrascì 137

discussing Gower Chapman’s Milocca. Representatives from Milena

attended the book launch and, as part of the festivities, Giuseppe P.

Palumbo presented a photographic display—titled Cultura contadina

Siciliana (Sicilian peasant culture)—depicting various scenes from

Milocca-Milena (see Bonomo Ingrao 1993:14). His collection included

several photographs taken by La Gower in 192829. These early exchanges

have helped to cultivate important links between Milena and

Asti. The two communities signed an official Friendship Pact in Asti on

January 8, 2005, and in Milena on August 13.

Meanwhile, in 1990, the Milenese community of Aix-les-Bains established

L’Associazione "Milena mia" (Bonomo Ingrao 1993). The goal

of this association was to promote a gemellaggio (twin-city relations)

between Milena and Aix-les-Bains. The association quickly achieved its

goal; the two communities signed the official papers for the gemellaggio

on October 3, 1992, in Aix-les-Bains, and August 7, 1993, in Milena

(Bonomo Ingrao 1993). As in the case of Asti, La Gower featured prominently

in this historical process. In the pre-gemellaggio period, a delegation

from Aix-les-Bains visited Milena and took part in various local

activities. One of these activities was an important religious service in

the community’s main church. During the service, Francesco Falletta, the

archpriest of Milena at the time, spoke in favor of the gemellaggio, and

commented on the importance of religion to the process (see Bonomo

Ingrao 1993:2022). To give historical weight to his statement, Falletta

provided a direct quote from the Italian version of Charlotte Gower

Chapman’s text:

In orienting the Sicilian in relation to his society it is impossible

to stop with the description of his relationships to his fellow men.

Beyond the world of living human beings there exist for him entities

who are interested in his behavior and endowed with powers

to affect him for good or evil. The most important of these

beings are those whom he associates with the Church: God, the

saints and angels, the souls of the dead, and the devil. (Chapman

1971:158, 1985:202; see also Bonomo Ingrao 1993:21)

From our point of view, Falletta, using Gower Chapman as an authority

on cultural issues for Milocca-Milena, raised the discussion to a new

level. His statement served to move the gemellaggio from a purely political

process to one that recognized the importance of both earthly and

spiritual links between the two communities.

The administration in Milena chose to sign the final papers for the gemellaggio

in 1993, because that year marked the seventieth anniversary

138 Living Memory

of Milocca-Milena’s autonomy as a community. To mark the anniversary

Milena hosted a conference dealing with various factors leading to the

declaration of autonomy. As part of the proceedings, Giambattista Tona

(1993) presented a paper on aspects of everyday life in pre-autonomy

Milocca. Tona not only mentions La Gower in the paper, but also makes

use of her text to discuss an unusual attempt by a "self-styled lawyer"

from Grotte (a nearby town) to declare Milocca an independent republic

in 1912. This event was not reported in other texts on the history of


In the Shadow of the Mighty Carob

A political struggle began to take shape in Milena in the latter part of

2004. For years, the local administration had worked to secure funds to

establish a zona artigianale (a small business area) for the community.

By December 2004, the administration was ready to begin the process of

expropriating land for the zona artigianale. The specific area chosen for

expropriation, however, raised concerns for certain segments of the population.

Within a short time, a determined and vocal group of individuals

mobilized an opposition movement to block the endeavor. The land

was located only a short distance from the town center, and included a

magnificent carob tree (carrubo) that existed on the site for over three

hundred years, a number of almond and olive trees of significant age, a

sorb-apple tree (sorbo), and a small shrine devoted to San Calogero. The

struggle soon became a news item throughout Sicily. Between December

2004 and February 2005, a series of articles appeared in La Sicilia and

other newspapers of the region (e.g., Mistretta 2004, 2005; Ingrascì

2005). Even the students of the Instituto Comprensivo of Milena wrote

an article about the process in their newsletter Il grillo parlante (2005a),

which was later reprinted in the La Sicilia (2005b). The mighty carob

was clearly a major focal point of both the struggle, and the media


The struggle took a new turn when Alessandro Pagano (the regional

assessor) and the Soprintendenza per i Beni Culturali ed Ambientali

(the Advisory Council responsible for issues of cultural heritage) began

to take an interest in the debate. On February 21, 2005, the Sicilian

Regional Authority (Regione Siciliana), with a letter addressed to the

mayor of Milena and the owners of the affected lands, asserted its intent

to declare the area a cultural heritage site. The opposition movement

had succeeded. The Director General of the Dipartimento Regionale Beni

Culturali ed Ambientali sent out the official notice declaring the carruMigliore,

Dorazio-Migliore, and Ingrascì 139

bo and surrounding area an Ethno-Anthropological Site (Vincolo Etno

Antropologico "Il Carrubo" in Milena) on September 9, 2005 (based

on Decree 6688 of July 13, 2005). The letter was accompanied by documents

providing a rationale for the decision, as well as a map drawing

out the limits of the protected area.

What is significant for our purposes is that Charlotte Gower Chapman

was cited repeatedly in both the media coverage and the official correspondence

to and from the government agency responsible for heritage

issues. Giuseppe P. Palumbo of the Antiquarium, for example, appealed

to the Soprintendenza to protect the site for historical and cultural reasons.

As part of his rationale for protecting the site, he discussed Gower

Chapman’s work in Milocca and the fact that she mentions this particular

carob in her ethnography—as a place, according to local lore,

frequented by spirits (see Chapman 1971:196197). The final document

the Dipartimento Regionale Beni Culturali ed Ambientali distributed in

support of its declaration also mentions this link between the carob and

the Gower Chapman ethnography.

Many individuals, using various rationales, took part in the struggle

to protect the carrubo site. We do not want to overemphasize the importance

of Charlotte Gower Chapman’s ethnography in the struggle. The

point we want to make, through this and some of the earlier examples,

is that La Gower has become one of the voices of authority in discussions

of culture and history in Milena. And, as a voice of authority, her

work can be used, in different contexts, to promote alternative points of

view on community issues.

Role of Local Schools in Promoting Awareness of La Gower

For a number of years now, the local school system in Milena has taken

an active part in introducing students to the work of Charlotte Gower

Chapman. Professor Vincenzo Tona, an instructor at the Scuola Media

"Luigi Pirandello," for example, has the children under his care read

and discuss La Gower’s chapter "The Setting" as part of his lesson plan.

The students, in turn, have produced a number of publications with the

assistance of their instructors. These works often deal with the culture

and history of Milocca-Milena, making use of material from the Italian

translation of Milocca: A Sicilian Village (see Alunni della scuola 1989;

Classe V B Plesso S.G. Bosco 20052006).18 More recently, a group of

secondary school students produced a CD with text and images, titled

Diario storico—Ambientale (Alunni della classe 1b 200607). This CD

also makes reference to Gower Chapman and her work in Milocca. In

140 Living Memory

Milena, it has become virtually impossible to discuss cultural and historical

issues without making reference, in one way or another, to La

Gower and her ethnography.

Professor Vincenzo Nicastro (the scholastic director of schools in

Milena until 2007) took matters one step further in 2006. The Scuola

Media "Luigi Pirandello" was ready to celebrate the opening of its new

multimedia centre. Nicastro proposed that the centre be named after

Charlotte Day Gower Chapman. Local officials accepted the proposal,

and Mayor Giovanni Randazzo, Vincenzo Nicastro, and Professor Rosanna

Manganaro handled the official cutting of the ceremonial ribbon on

June 8, 2006. At the celebration, Vincenzo Ingrascì announced that we

were in the process of preparing this article for publication, and Mayor

Randazzo announced that efforts were being made to have 1,500 copies

of Messana’s translation of the Gower Chapman text reprinted for the

community. The official dedication of the multimedia center to La Gower

was reported in two prominent Sicilian newspapers, the Giornale di

Sicilia ("Milena, ceremonia" 2006) and La Sicilia (Bonomo 2006). The

event was particularly significant because it was the first time something

in Milena had been officially named after Gower Chapman.

One year later, Mayor Giovanni Randazzo realized his dream of having

the Messana translation reprinted by the Franco Angeli publishing

house. Copies of the text were distributed among community members,

and a conference was held on June 16, 2007, in honor of the eightieth

anniversary of Charlotte Gower Chapman’s research in the community.

As part of the proceedings a number of dignitaries, scholars, and guests

made presentations to an appreciative audience. Some of the highlights of

these presentations included the following. Onofrio Raimondi, President

of the Pro Loco of Milena, announced that the Casa Museo was being

dedicated officially to Gower Chapman. Vincenzo Ingrascì provided a

biographical sketch of Gower Chapman, and read the opening segment

of this work. Tommaso Palumbo followed with an historical overview of

anthropological research in Milocca-Milena, and raised questions about

how this patrimonio culturale (cultural heritage) might be harnessed for

the benefit of the community. Vincenzo Nicastro spoke of the role of the

school system in promoting various aspects of Milena’s culture and history,

including the contributions of La Gower.

Giuseppe Virciglio and Vito Messana traveled to Milena for the conference

from their homes in the Asti area. Virciglio, as part of his presentation,

read three short poems about Charlotte Gower Chapman in Sicilian

dialect. Messana, in contrast, spoke about his collaboration with Arturo

Petìx and their efforts to produce the translation of Milocca: A Sicilian

Migliore, Dorazio-Migliore, and Ingrascì 141

Village. Antonino Buttitta, a professor of anthropology at the University

of Palermo, spoke of the work of Italian scholars—such as Salvatore Salomone-

Marino (1897)—whose studies of peasant life in Sicily pre-date

Gower Chapman’s ethnography. He stressed, however, that La Gower

had a keen eye for detail and that she opened an important path for further

research. Caterina Pasqualino could not attend the conference, but

her mother traveled from Palermo with Professor Buttitta to be part of

the festivities. Between presentations, Nonò Salamone, a cantastorie (musical

storyteller) from nearby Sutera, performed a concert in Sicilian. Although

not on the official program, Italo Angilella also spoke at the conference.

His statement dealt with Don Totò Angilella and the failure in

Milena to officially recognize his contributions to the community.

In certain respects, the conference served as an important corrective to

the community’s failure to hold a book launch in Milena for the Messana

translation of 1985. It also served as a vehicle to both honor Charlotte

Gower Chapman’s contribution to the community, and to acknowledge

Messana’s efforts in bringing her work to a local audience in a format

that could be easily understood and studied. At the same time, the conference

provided an avenue for the community to celebrate its own accomplishments

over the past eighty years. Milena is no longer Milocca,

but Milocca will always be part of Milena.


Early in her career, Charlotte Day Gower displayed signs of becoming a

prominent and distinguished anthropologist. A variety of factors, however,

contributed in moving her further and further away from the anthropological

spotlight. The rediscovery and publication of the Milocca

manuscript, a document some consider a classic ethnography of an early

European society, has had only fleeting and limited impact on the collective

memory of the anthropological community (especially in North

America). Today, at best, Gower Chapman represents a footnote in anthropological

history, a disciplinary ancestor without a following. Any

attempt to explain this fate, must come to terms with not only the specifics

surrounding Gower Chapman’s personal experiences, but also issues

of gender and sexism, academic notions of "publish or perish," intradisciplinary

prejudices concerning acceptable fieldwork locations, the

place of method and theory in disciplinary discourse, the rapid growth

of various fields of study within the sub-discipline of cultural anthropology,

and the sheer explosion in the number of anthropological publications

produced from year to year.

Today, there are a number of important works that have brought the

142 Living Memory

historical and current contributions of female anthropologists to the

forefront of scholarly attention (e.g., Behar and Gordon 1995; Bridgman,

Cole, and Howard-Bobiwash 1999). Maria Lepowsky’s article

"Charlotte Gower and the Subterranean History of Anthropology" has

given Gower Chapman’s work a second opportunity to reach a new and

growing anthropological audience. We hope this publication will further

strengthen her position as a disciplinary ancestor.

Gower Chapman’s fate in Milocca (now Milena), albeit somewhat ambiguous,

has taken a different turn. La Gower has become a prominent

figure in the minds of some community members, and everyone seems at

least to have heard of the young American woman who visited Milocca

at a time when few strangers, let alone exotic strangers, made their way

to the community. Gower Chapman’s manuscript has become both an

entry point into aspects of the life and history of Milocca and, as a document

available around the world, a source of community pride.

In 2005, while walking with a group of friends in Milena, Tommaso

Palumbo stopped suddenly, looked up at the stars, and whispered to

Sam Migliore: "I wonder what Donna Carlotta would think if she could

hear us talking about her as we walk here." He said this just as we approached

the spot depicted in her photo of a flock of sheep on Milocca’s

main roadway (see Chapman 1971: photo 1). Today, eighty years after

La Gower began research in Sicily, we could ask a similar question.

What might Charlotte Gower Chapman think of all the attention she

and her work are receiving in Milena? What would be her reaction to

hearing Tommaso Palumbo read the following passage from her ethnography

during the 2007 conference in Milena?

These are the people of Milocca, living in a small isolated community

of recent growth, in which they carry on a fairly selfcontained

existence. By the accident of birth any Sicilian finds

himself projected into a system of relationships with his fellows,

or into conditions which will determine to a large extent

his future attitudes and obligations toward them. The sex of the

individual, his parents and their social position, will affect his

education, his means of livelihood, his standing in the community,

his political affiliations, and his moral code. The geographical

location of his parents’ residence will influence his range of

friendships and his loyalties. (Chapman 1971:26, 1985:51)

And, what would she make of his conclusion that this passage had captured

the very "genome, the genetic map of the Milocchese community"

(Palumbo 2007:1)?

Migliore, Dorazio-Migliore, and Ingrascì 143


We acknowledge and thank the following for their assistance and encouragement during

the research and writing of this paper: the inhabitants of Milena, Alba Angilella, Paolino

Cipolla, Natasha Damiano, Caroline Daniels, Anna Foschi Ciampolini, Carlo Garlisi,

Nunzio Insalaco, Russell King, Calogero Milazzo, Vincenzo Nicastro, Giuseppe P. Palumbo,

Tommaso Palumbo, Guy Patterson, Adriano Petìx, Carlo Petìx, Onofrio Raimondi,

Wim Ravesteijn, Joe Schenkman, Paolino Schillaci, Carmelo Tona, Vincenzo Tona, Colleen

van de Voort, and the Ingrascì-Taibi family. The research and writing was made possible,

in part, through research grants from Kwantlen Polytechnic University and the Social Science

and Humanities Research Council, Canada.

1. Maria Lepowsky’s fine article covers a number of important aspects of Charlotte

Gower Chapman’s life, and it will be cited repeatedly in this piece. We would also

like to acknowledge that her work has led us to a number of the sources we use in our


2. The title of Gower’s Social Science Research Council project was "An Ethnological

and Sociological Study of a Typical Sicilian Village Community as a Contribution

to the Background of the Problem of the Sicilian Immigrant to the United States" (Cole

1930a:339). According to Frank Thone (1929:203), Gower’s long-term plan was to follow

up the study in Sicily with comparative research among Sicilians living in (1) Chicago,

(2) an agricultural settlement in the American South, and, (3) an American mining community.

To our knowledge this further research did not take place.

3. William Whyte to Robert Redfield, letter, October 26, 1941. Robert Redfield Papers,

Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library (hereafter cited

as UCL).

4. See also Eben B. Gower to Ernestine Bingham, letter, December 17, 1940. Department

of Anthropology Papers, UCL.

5. Charlotte Gower Chapman to Fred Eggan, letter, December 9, 1970. Fred Eggan Papers,


6. Nash Papers: Box 7, folder: "Gower." National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian

Institution (hereafter cited as Nash Papers). Gower’s letter to Nash is dated simply

June 18. Since the letter includes a discussion of Sicilian social organization for the Milocca

manuscript, it must have been written prior to the submission of the manuscript to the

University of Chicago Press in 1935.

7. J. L. Gillin to Charlotte Gower (copy for Dean G. C. Sellery), letter, January 7, 1938.

Series 7/1/13-1: College of Letters and Science, Administration (Dean’s Office), General

Correspondence George Sellery, Box 32, Folder Ga–Gl. University of Wisconsin–Madison

Archives (hereafter cited as General Correspondence George Sellery).

8. J. L. Gillin to G. C. Sellery, letter, January 7, 1938. General Correspondence George


9. On Fay-Cooper Cole’s support for Gower, see Charlotte Gower to Fay-Cooper Cole,

letter, March 21, 1938, Department of Anthropology Papers, UCL; Fay-Cooper Cole to

Olin D. Wannamaker (American director, Lingnan University), letter, April 12, 1938, Department

of Anthropology Papers, UCL.

10. See also Fay-Cooper Cole to Eben B. Gower, letter, August 24, 1942. Department of

Anthropology Papers, UCL.

11. "Project Camelot was the result of a government directive: the U.S. Army should

play out its mission to contribute to nation-building projects, which included actively assisting

governments in their dealing with insurgency problems" (Nader 1997:123124).

144 Living Memory

12. During 194041, Charlotte Gower (1942) studied the Chinese language and, "with

the aid of a graduate student . . . collected some material on a small village outside Hongkong."

She published a couple of articles, in Chinese, for a student journal, but we have no

additional information on these publications (see Gower 1942; Murray 2005). In response

to a query about publications in a questionnaire for the 1944 Bulletin for the Society of

Woman Geographers, Gower (1944) mentions that her manuscript "on Hongkong and

its fall" had been "turned down by a number of our leading publishers." An excerpt from

Milocca: A Sicilian Village (titled "Marriage in Sicily"), however, did appear in H. Russell

Bernard’s edited volume, The Human Way: Readings in Anthropology (Gower 1975).

13. William Whyte to Robert Redfield, letter, October 26, 1941. Robert Redfield Papers,


14. Sam Migliore’s arrival was not a factor in the decision to prepare these altars; the

plans and preparations occurred long before it became public knowledge that he would be

visiting the community.

15. Alfred S. Schenkman to Giovanni Cordaro, letter, May 17, 1976. Fred Eggan Papers,

box 55, UCL.

16. Nash Papers.

17. Angelina Lanza Damiani (18791936) was a Sicilian writer whose work touched on

various historical, social, and spiritual themes often related directly to her experiences on

the island (see Giurintano 2001). Louise Hamilton (18591927) married Eugenio Caico

around 1880, and moved to Montedoro, Sicily in 1897. Her book Sicilian Ways and Days,

published in London in 1910, was translated into the Italian as Vicende e Costumi Siciliani

in 1983.

18. Maria Teresa Tona (2006) also published recently a short book for high school

students in Milena. The book does not make specific reference to Gower Chapman, but

includes her ethnography as part of the bibliography.


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